Carmen Torbus. A name familiar to me through industry peers. In the last year Carmen and I have become more familiar with each other as friends on Facebook. Her just-released first book was a real celebration. I was intrigued on many levels. Carmen always defines herself as a “self-taught” artist. Each time I would see that qualifying description I would have an instructive conversation with myself. I would try and remember if I’d ever see any other artist qualify themselves as a “on-the-job-taught” artist or “university-educatied” artist. Ah. Yes. Those initials after someone’s name do indeed provide some sort of validation, don’t they? And, in fact, as those conversations unfolded in my own soul I met the “prevailing wisdom” of our culture. That wisdom most often reflected in the question, “Who taught you that?” or this question, “Where’d you learn that?” Generally it seems more acceptable to hold a body of knowledge if somehow has handed it to you through book and lecture and memory and rote. When I followed the threads, the “bread crumb trail” of knowledge it often ended up at someone’s door whose answer was, ‘I made it up,” or “I thought of this myself.”
So. Carmen Torbus has written a book based on her own discovery and exploration as a self taught artist. In this book, THE ARTIST UNIQUE, she’s not claiming to make people into professional artists. Rather, she is extending the invitation to discover a unique artistic signature that comes through art. Through discovery. Through doing something that you previously did not know you could do. In these next few days I will be sharing with you my experience of discovery. Using Carmen’s inspiration – I reached out to a media that I am not only unfamiliar with, but am actually uncomfortable with. I have to confess that the area I chose to explore I have dismissed for decades with the explanation, “I’m simply not very good with that.”
What a surprise was in store for me when I was willing to suspend my judgement, read the invitation that Carmen Torbus offered in her book, and proceed. At the outset, it appeared to just be about art. But at the end of the story, I recognize it’s a model for much larger things.
Journey along with me over the coming few days, will you?